The National Health Service is one of Britain’s most-adored institutions. In 1945, when the Second World War ended, the country was left disheartened and in severe debt. Three years later, on 5th July 1948, Health Minister Aneurin Bevan informed Brits that they were entitled to free healthcare funded by general taxation, regardless of household income. On that day, doctors, nurses, pharmacists, opticians, dentists and hospitals came together for the first time, forming a single UK-wide organisation. In the seventy years that followed, the NHS has had a transformative effect on millions of peoples’ lives.
The leaflet that was distributed when the NHS was formed read as follows:
'Everyone - rich or poor, man, woman or child - can use it or any part of it. There are no charges, except for a few items. There are no insurance qualifications. But it is not a “charity”. You are all paying for it, mainly as taxpayers, and it will relieve your money worries in time of illness.'
More than two-thirds of respondents in a recent poll said they considered the healthcare institution, which turns 70 this week, to be Britain’s greatest achievement.
Perhaps inevitably, over the course of time, it proved unsustainable tor Britain's ever-growing healthcare demand to rely on taxation alone. Prescriptions at £8.80 per item, dental costs falling into three bands depending on the severity of treatment, eye care costs and wigs and fabric support make up the areas where additional charges now apply.
According to The Guardian, recent data from the British Social Attitudes Research Centre showed that 61% of people want to pay more tax to fund the health service.
In celebration of the seventy year anniversary of our NHS, we've compiled a collection of facts that paint a picture of NHS today...
1.) Nurses make up the largest part of the NHS workforce, at just under 30%.
2.) NHS ambulances make over 50,000 emergency journeys each week.
3.) In the 2016 Care Quality Commission inpatient satisfaction survey 84% felt that they were always treated with dignity and respect while using inpatient services.
4.) The NHS in England treats more than 1.4 million patients every 24 hours.
5.) The NHS in England is expected to spend £126 billion in 2018/19.
6.) The 6Cs – care, compassion, courage, communication, commitment and competence – are a central plank of Compassion in Practice, which was drawn up by NHS England chief nursing officer Jane Cummings and launched in December 2012.
7.) There are now around 90 NHS walk-in centres, offering convenient access to services, including treatment for minor illnesses and injuries.
8.) Professionally qualified staff make up over half (54.0 per cent) of the HCHS workforce (based on FTE).
9.) When the NHS was founded in 1948, the life expectancy for men was 66, and for women, 71. Today those figures are 77.2 and 81.5.
10.) In real terms the budget is expected to increase from £120.512bn in 2016/17 to £123.202bn by 2019/20.
We look forward to continuing to build upon our current working relationship with the National Health Service in the coming years, a vital resource to its millions of users nationwide.